We do love a Christmas market!
Twinkling Christmas lights, mulled wine, a huge variety of delicious food, interesting artisan products, toys, handmade crafts, magical decorations, fireworks, Ferris wheels, and even ice rinks.
A real treat for the senses and, for many of us, it marks the start of Christmas.
Across Europe, the main squares of many cities and even small towns are transformed, from November until Christmas and sometimes beyond.
Can’t make it to Europe this year? We can send Christmas gifts to EU friends and family for you!
So which markets have been voted the best by us Brits?
According to Forbes, our 3 favourite Christmas markets in Europe (excl UK) are:
1. Marvel at the Christmas market in Basel, Switzerland
Basel is considered Switzerland’s most beautiful and largest Christmas city. The charming market is situated in the heart of the city.
Enjoy the beautiful decorations and wonderful Christmas tree and the 155 small rustic wooden chalets. Plenty of gift ideas.
Indulge in treats such as Swiss raclette and a type of gingerbread called Basel Lackerli.
OPEN – 24th November – 23rd December.
2. Feast at the Christmas market in Budapest, Hungary
Officially known as the Advent Feast at the Basilica. Twice voted as the best in Europe, it has more than 100 artisan and gastronomic vendors.
It has a very popular food fair, spectacular decorations and a light show projected every day onto the façade of the Basilica. Enjoy singers, bands and choirs.
There are family and children’s programmes too including a visit to Father Christmas and an ice rink with free skates for the kids.
OPEN – 18th November – 1st January.
The Budapest Christmas market with the stunning backdrop of Budapest Basilica. Photo by Top Budapest via Flickr. Some rights reserved.
3. Admire the beauty at the Christmas market in Metz, France
This highly popular market is considered by many as the most beautiful Christmas market in France. All the important squares are decorated. Enjoy a gourmet food market, skating, a toboggan run, merry-go-rounds, a big wheel and more, in this rich historic city.
OPEN – 18th November – 24th December.
4. Explore the Christmas markets in Vienna, Austria
Explore the several markets spread over this pretty city. Set amongst the magnificent buildings of Vienna, the markets promise variety from simplicity to more decorative.
Enjoy a thousand candles, roasted chestnuts and much more.
OPEN – 11th November – 23rd December.
5. Eat your way through the treats at the Christmas market in Brussels, Belgium
The streets and squares of Brussels are transformed into winter wonderlands. Enjoy a fantastic sound and light show, two ice rinks, a curling track and over 200 chalets. Visit bars and pop-up restaurants.
It’s generally known as a gourmets’ heaven!
OPEN – 25th November – 1st January.
6. Dial up the romance at the Christmas market in Trier, Germany
Voted as the most romantic Christmas market setting, with Trier Cathedral as its backdrop. This Christmas market in Germany is in its 44th year.
Enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the Old City, feasting on regional specialities and apple wine made from local apples.
OPEN – 18th November – 22nd December.
Explore the festive stalls at Trier Christmas market Germany. Photo by Diogo Palhais on Unsplash.
7. Taste the local delicacies at the Christmas market in Prague, Czech Republic
Set in the heart of the city over two traditional Czech squares.
A 22m tree, festive lights, music and interesting hand-made crafts within this beautiful ‘winter wonderland’ setting.
Plenty of local delicacies and Czech beers to enjoy.
OPEN – 26th November – 6th January.
8. Experience the festivities at the Christmas market in Zagreb, Croatia
Known as ‘Advent Zagreb’, this is a Christmas market with a magical atmosphere attracting visitors from Croatia and the rest of the world.
There are over 25 markets spread over the city, each having its own unique theme and atmosphere.
Enjoy the colourful stalls selling interesting artisan products and regional cuisine.
OPEN – 26th November – 7th January.
Discover the beautiful festive products at Zagreb Christmas market. Photo by Stella Tzertzeveli on Unsplash.
This list is not exhaustive! There are hundreds more great Christmas markets to choose from.
Will you be visiting a Christmas market in Europe this year?
Got friends or family in Europe? Why not send them a British Christmas food hamper packed with artisan treats? Discover our EU hamper range here.
Before you go……Did you know?
- The tradition began in Germany in medieval times.
- In 1616 a priest in the German city of Nuremberg had to cancel the Christmas Eve afternoon service because everyone was at the local Christmas market.
- Christmas markets used to last just a couple of days.
- In Budapest, all products have to be confirmed as authentic, with a jury of people checking that all products are traditionally homemade.